Over the last few years the Occupational Safety and Health Department has become more proactive to meet the needs of our members. The department continues to react to accidents when they occur as well as respond to pending OSHA inspections and citations when called upon. However, the Executive Council’s philosophy, carried out by the department staff, is that through worker education and training, accidents are prevented, lives are saved and workplace safety and health is enhanced.
The Grand Lodge has been involved in federally funded worker training programs since 1991. These programs have trained thousands of our members in chemical awareness, emergency response and general safety processes and regulations. The adult education concept used in our grant-funded programs was so successful and popular with our members that we developed other training programs. These include setting up safety and health committees, accident investigation, ergonomics and OSHA Outreach as joint labor and management training programs which we deliver to our locals, districts and employers where we have contracts as well as membership and saftey representative training.
To administer these training programs, the IAM Corporation for Re-Employment and Safety Training (IAM CREST) was established as a non-profit corporation. IAM CREST also provides the services of Vocational Rehabilitative Counselors to our members at Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems who have been injured on the job. These professionals directly assist the injured worker in returning to work, with accommodation if necessary.
Legislation as it relates to occupational safety is always of concern to the IAM. We work closely with our Legislative Department, the AFL-CIO, CLC and other North American unions on tracking proposed bills. Our efforts are coordinated to defeat the adverse bills along with providing our support for the progressive efforts being made in behalf of worker safety.
The availability of information through the Internet and various electronic medians is being utilized to better arm our members against unsafe work processes, unhealthy products and illegal practices in the work place. Our goal is to identify the most useful information and have that easily accessible to our representatives and members through the use of new technologies.